Something to admit before the review, I have not seen a family movie, let alone an animated one, in close to 10 years, seriously, nothing below PG-13. Mostly because of my more mature taste, but also because nothing has grabbed my attention until I saw the trailer for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. I am too much of a fan to pass this one up, despite Sony’s past failures with the wall-crawler, and I am glad I did not pass up one of the most stunning and impactful movies of the year.
Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) goes around his days like any other teenager, dealing with parents and school while wanting to figure out who he wants to become. After getting infected from the iconic spider to gain his powers then witnessing Spider-Man (Chris Pine) fight off a few baddies, he lands himself into the superhero lifestyle, whether he likes it or not. Kingpin’s (Liev Schreiber) diabolical plan goes wrong, creating a hole in several dimensions, bringing in multiple Spider-People/Animal to a world that they do not belong. The Spider-People/Animal comes together for an exciting adventure with Miles to get everyone home and stop a group of iconic villains from destroying New York.
The heart of the film is the wide variety of characters from the most obscure heroes and villains to classics that anyone from mainstream audiences to comic books fiends will recognize. Everyone good and evil has their motivations, flaws, and so much more to bring them to life. Everyone from Spider-Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld) to Kingpin have glowing personalities that brighten the most comedic, heroic, and dramatic beats.
The pacing flows together weaving in action, comedy, and emotional moments in an organic manner. While some of the jokes fall flat, plenty hit hard for a good laugh. The story keeps on moving while throwing different emotions for a beautiful contrast of tone. I laughed, I cried (more than I thought), and I was in awe by the many shocking surprises.
Usually, if a film is beautiful, I appreciate and even adore what I see, but it wears off after two hours. Spider-Verse delivers one of the most stunning and unique aesthetics, blending a classic comic book style with a vibrant color pallet and uniquely rendered characters to make everyone’s appearance as distinctive as their personalities. Up until the last second of the after-credit scene, I could not resist having my mind blown by the effects. The animation team along with the directors Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsay, and Rodney Rothman deserve the highest award possible for this accomplishment, I am looking at you Academy Awards.
Spider-Verse delivers a fun movie for the whole family while hitting tear-jerking moments and a highly resonating message. Something about the movement took me a long time to get over, the animation for characters threw me off when people were moving, but after a while, I got to fully embrace the visual style without that distraction. Casual and hardcore fans, I am telling you this is the ultimate Spidey story that blends the most mainstream and odd stories from Spider-Man’s rich comic book history. One of the greatest Spider-Man movies that rival the brilliant Homecoming and easily makes for one of the most beautiful films ever made.
Header image via Sony Pictures Entertainment